Northwest zone rugby girls lost games, but won scrums
Whether it be medals, zone milestone, or team learning, Vanderhoof’s representation at the BC Summer Games brought home notable achievements this summer.
Nearly 3,000 coaches and athletes across the province competed in 18 sports and trained in development clinics at the 30th BC Summer Games in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24
Not a single scrum was lost by the North West girls rugby team during the three-day BC Summer Games, coach says.
Though the team did not win any games, there were three tight matches against the Vancouver-Coastal, Kootenays, and Cariboo-North East zones, said coach Sean Rodgers. The 12-person team includes two players from Vanderhoof, Felicia Brooks and Melanie Rodgers, as well as representation from Prince Rupert, Houston, Smithers and Burns Lake.
“The girls learned a lot,” Rodgers said. “The big thing is getting experience from playing against much, much stronger teams. They did themselves proud.”
Despite the limited amount of practices together, due to the large distances apart, the team cooperated well at the Games.
“The whole team played as one…it usually takes years for them to train,” he said. “These girls just clicked. It was most enjoyable to coach them that’s for sure.”
The regional team will next play together at an invitational tournament hosted by Thompson-Okanagan zone in October.
“The more games we can play at a high calibre, the girls can get better,” Rodgers said, adding that a younger group of players will also be brought down to gather more experience, in preparation for the next Games in two years. The British Columbia Rugby will also conduct a two-day workshop in Smithers to help northern players catch up to those in the south.
Recruitment for the team starts in September when school begins, Rodgers said.
For Felicia Brooks, it was a one-in-a-lifetime experience and an opportunity to connect with other rugby teams.
“It was clean games…we learned a lot from other teams,” Brooks said. “They have so many people to choose from to make these teams, which pushes them to be at a higher calibre. It was very rewarding.”
Though the team was only able to play together for a month, the players bonded well as a team, allowing each to have a chance to score. With more practices, however, the team could learn how to work together.
“Sometimes it’s hard to decide who should go on with who, who plays well with each other, who can play off of who,” Brooks said. “Maybe using our speed more…we went into contact a lot.”